Lucinda Williams has released a dozen albums during her 38-year career, four in the first 18 years and eight in the last 20. She stepped up the pace after 1998’s Car Wheels On a Gravel Road (still her best album), releasing a record about once every other year.
My guess is that if 2014’s Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone had come after a lengthy hiatus, rather than during the relatively productive streak Williams was on at the time, it would have been received with more critical fanfare.
Best Songs of 2014 – #16
‘When I Look at the World’ – Lucinda Williams
Lucinda Williams’ sprawling double album, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, is a lot to wrap my brain around.
It certainly contains some throwaway tracks — I can easily imagine this release pared down to a stellar single disc — but in its ambitious, oversized form it feels at times like a summation of her impressive career.
It took 20 years for Lucinda Williams to release her first four albums. Her most recent four have come at a much faster clip, averaging one every other year.
And while there is no contest in terms of quality — the first batch takes it by a mile — I’m glad to hear new material by one of America’s greatest singer-songwriters with some frequency.